Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"When we have kids..."

I was supposed to be at a friend's house tonight, scrapbooking. But I'm not. Both of my other friends who live nearby & usually give me a lift couldn't go tonight. And dh is too tired to drive me. It's about 25 miles or a 40-minute drive on the highway, in good traffic.

Why don't I just drive myself, you ask? Well, believe it or not, I don't drive.

It's a long story. I do actually have my driver's license. When I was 16, I took driver's ed and sailed into my driving test, supremely confident.

I flunked. Twice. The examiner was like a military drill sergeant, barking out orders at me. I lost my nerve, and after two failures, my confidence was completely shattered.

I always intended to try again... someday. Then my learner's permit expired. (I didn't realize they had an expiry date.) When I was in university, I took the written test again & got another learner's permit. More time passed. I got engaged and realized I would soon be moving to Toronto. Did I really want to take my test in the traffic of the big city?

So I called up the local driver's ed instructor in the small, one-stoplight town my parents now lived in, & asked him for a few private lessons. At age 24, a month before my wedding, I finally got my driver's license. When I got to Toronto, I traded it in for an Ontario license. No testing required. (It may be different now.)

For the first seven years we were married, we had a Volkswagen Rabbit with manual transmission. I had only ever driven an automatic. For five of those years, we lived in the city, two blocks from the subway station, and only ever used our car on weekends. Even if we had an automatic, the city traffic scared me.

Then we moved to the suburbs, & traded the Volkswagen for a car with an automatic transmission. I practiced driving around the neighbourhood now & then, even to the local mall a few times (taking the long way through the back roads). (I haven't even done that in awhile.) Dh & I both work downtown & commute together -- he drives us to & from the commuter train station (there is bus service to the train, but we'd have to get up even earlier than we do...!). There is a plaza with a supermarket, drugstore, video store & other amenities just a brief walk away (or a quick swing by en route home at night), and most nights, we're both too tired to go out anywhere anyway. Of course, part of it is, I've just always lived without the freedom of having a car (and thankfully, in places with good public transit or within walking distance of places I need to go), & adapted accordingly. I do a lot of errands on my lunch hour at work, & get dh to take me the other places I need to go.

When I got pregnant, I knew I was NOT going to be stuck in a house in suburbia with a baby & no car. My plan was to practice my driving more & perhaps even take a few lessons from a local driving school to brush up my skills & boost my confidence. Then, when I lost the baby, it suddenly didn't seem so important anymore. And I have rarely tried to drive since then.

My grandmother never drove & made me promise that I would get my license & not be like her. I feel guilty when I think about it. I really do need to get driving again, perhaps take some refresher lessons. I may never venture out onto Highway 401 (the main highway which runs through the Greater Toronto Area & beyond), but I'd be happy if I gained enough confidence to get myself to the local mall or Wal-Mart without having to ask dh to take me.

It struck me tonight, thinking of this, that there are so many things we plan to do "when we have kids." And then the kids don't materialize -- then what??

I always thought I would buy a video camera "when we have kids." We still don't have one. The spare bedroom still has the cheap particleboard furniture from dh's student apartment in it, because, of course, it was supposed to be the nursery. Someday, I want to buy some nicer furniture & linens and do it up right.

What things have you been putting off doing or getting "until we have kids?"


  1. So many things, and I have a post brewing about that - maybe when I have more than a few minutes for a break :). Thank you for writing this and here is hoping you get driving soon.

  2. So many things have been put on hold, many of them house related. Not major repairs, but we haven't arranged some things quite the way we like because we are waiting to know whether the room will be used by children or not. I've actually made a list of things to do if IVF doesn't work out. Like Dianne, I might post about it soon.